According to the UOB Affluent Consumer Survey 2016 1, travel is a significant part of the lifestyles of wealthy Southeast Asians. On average, more than nine in 10 of the respondents from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand go overseas on holiday at least once a year. Of these, respondents from Thailand clocked an average of two overseas holiday trips a year.
Yet, in light of slow economic growth and as their financial considerations grow more pronounced, the well-heeled travellers are opting to holiday within the region. The survey showed that 80 per cent of Thai respondents visited East Asia in the past twelve months. Japan was the most popular holiday destination during this period, followed by Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong and China respectively.
Mr Francis Tan, UOB Economist, noted that Asian countries benefit from travellers from Southeast Asian travellers who are looking to keep within their travel budget as well as increased intra-regional air connectivity.
“Given the weak regional currencies, Southeast Asians with a yen for travel could be choosing Asian destinations to maximise their purchasing power. This is aided by the increasing number of flights within the region, resulting in more competitive-priced flights to these destinations,” said Mr Tan.
The survey found that travel expense is the top consideration for the Thai respondents when planning their next holiday destination.
Ms Jacquelyn Tan, Managing Director and Regional Head of Cards and Payments, UOB, said that to stay relevant in serving the affluent Southeast Asian population, businesses must provide cost-efficient products and solutions that suit their needs today.
“To match the travel expectations of the affluent in Southeast Asia, we have embarked on regional partnerships with strategic travel-related brands to strengthen our offers to these customers. These partnerships continue to enhance our suite of offerings as we increase our market share in this segment. We aim to grow its regional credit and debit cards base by 35 per cent and total billings by 40 per cent in the next four years,” said Ms Tan.
Strategic partnerships key to UOB’s regional growth ambitions
To meet its regional cards growth ambitions, UOB has partnered established names in the travel sector such as Singapore Airlines for the Bank’s first-ever region-wide travel campaign. The campaign aims to help customers stretch their vacation dollar.
Thai UOB cardmembers stand a chance to receive up to 60,000 airline miles2, which can be redeemed for a round-trip ticket to London or Los Angeles, by spending 5,000 baht overseas in a single receipt3. UOB is giving away an equivalent of 10 million miles in total until 31 January to cardmembers across the region. This means that customers would be able to derive more value out of their year-end shopping and travelling, which is traditionally when they spend the most.4
Mr Yuttachai Teyarachakul, UOB (Thai)’s Managing Director and Country Head for Personal Financial Services, said “As Southeast Asia’s affluent continue to strike a balance between their wanderlust and their economic sensibilities, we anticipate that intra-regional travels will continue to grow among this segment. As such, UOB will continue to explore partnerships with relevant brands to ensure a robust suite of regional offerings that are relevant to our customers.”
Earlier this year, UOB also introduced the UOB Privileges Passport, a regional rewards programme that offers cardmembers access to exclusive local benefits while travelling in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. For example, through partnerships with leading retail outlets such as Club 21 and premier shopping mall such as Paragon, a Thai cardmember can enjoy the same suite of benefits and rewards available to a Singapore-issued UOB credit card.
1 The UOB Affluent Consumer Survey 2016 polled 2,030 respondents, aged 25 years and above with a minimum Assets Under Management of S$150,000, from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
2 Customers will be given the equivalent of KrisFlyer miles won in UNI$.
3 This is part of UOB’s first ever regional year-end campaign. From November to January 2017, customers can win the over 10 million Krisflyer miles that are up for grabs as well as more than 500,000 prizes, including flights to popular destinations like Bali and Tokyo.
4 Source: UOB card data